September Fishing Banter
This month’s yarn starts with a trip back in time, back to 1606 when Williem Janszoon (Australia’s Columbus) was the first European to discover Australia on a little “privateer” called DUYFKEN, “Dutch for Little Dove” making this cute little ship the Aussie equivalent of the Mayflower, Santa Maria or Mary Rose.
Now you may ask, “What’s Jimmy prattling on about Australian history for, especially in a fishing column based out of Phuket?
Well me Jolly Jack Tars, for any of you who know Brian “Mad” Mohally, you were actually witnessing history, through his experiences of another famous boat of the same name “Duyfken”, a boat that if it wasn’t for her famous predecessor, would be up there with Hemmingway’s Pilar and Joan’s Ark. Why? Because this boat has caught more IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) world records and Ghanaian (Africa) records than any other sports fisher.
As I write and having sold Duyfken, Brian is on his way to the Philippines to oversee a 280,000 USD refit of this custom built sports fisher. Designed by F. W. Woodnutt, this 40” Riviera has a plane-ing hull similar to that of the torpedo boats of WW2 and can turn on a piece of eight using her two powerful engines for steerage. Brian can’t remember how many records he has as many have been subsequently broken but between Brian and the many professionals who have owned and chartered the boat over the years, including the IGFA “Hall of Fame” angler Peter B Wright, Duyfken has more records than any craft afloat.
Image - Duyfken sports fishing boat
A visit to Mad Mohally’s Bar (Irish Bar) in Rawai, Phuket is a must for all Big Game afishinados as the walls are covered in photographs, and trophies of record catches and fishing experiences that most devotees can only aspire to in their wildest dreams, many of which were taken from Duyfken.
After her refit it is planned Duyfken will spend 4 months on the Australian Great Barrier Reef, 4 in Sai Pan, (Marianas Trench) and 2 in the Philippines with Brian retaining a few weeks every year to work on this already considerable reputation as a fisherman AND storyteller, the latter being an occupational hazard for us old salties.
Image - Brian's wall of fame
And this week’s humor since I am writing about boat’s names, here’s a few crackers:-
Campbell’s Sloop, Sea-Nile, Titan Uranus, Ship-for-Brains, Wasted Seamen, A-Salt Weapon, Settlement & In Solvent Sea.
Image - Duyfken with her mother ship weighing in a 1000lb + Marlin (picture Australian Fishing Museum)
Club News :- The Thailand Sports Fishing Club, (TSFC) the “new” club that now runs the Thailand’s premier “Classic” Fishing Competition, (1st /3rd March) sponsored by the Phuket News has now confirmed it has a five man “tournament committee” team and a growing 50 plus membership all raring to go. Enquiries for the competition should be directed to Warren Crowe at thailandsportsfishingclub.com.
Finally it’s nice to see the Phuket Game Fishing Club (PGFC) has not lost its sense of humor either. After rescinding my life membership (for services rendered) because of my recent article (Kraken – July 16) that amusingly high-lighted the gross mismanagement of the club, which at the time of my resignation from the committee had resulted in a paid-up membership you could count on your fingers, “no thumbs” the PGFC committee now wants me to pay 2,000 Baht to renew my membership. Hysterical!!!
As usual, tight lines to all,
July Phuket Fishing Report
Hi once again me fellow Fisheroos,
Once more, me old shipmates, fishing was curtailed by the weather and on the one trip out, toward the end of the month, we had one hit from a Sail which lasted all of 3 minutes and nothing else. Great to be out again but quite disappointing really, when you consider the conditions to be good, “overcast, calm and after a storm”, especially after the fantastic season we have had.
I apologize for this month’s article being delayed, but I awaited the outcome of the PGFC’s (Phuket Game Fishing Club) committee meeting, where it was rumored that exciting, earth shattering things, were about to happen, like the arrival of the Kraken. The Kraken being a legendary sea monster of huge proportions, sometimes thought to be a giant squid with a psychotic temperament and tentacles everywhere, the scourge of anything maritime.
Well that’s it, as my timbers are well and truly shivered, I have decided to jump ship as I believe she is now well beyond repair and have advised what’s left of the of the PGFC crew of my assessment of the situation. So no more reports on the fishing club from me.
As Thailand’s Premier Sports Fishing Competition, “sponsored by the Phuket News” is now being run independently of the PGFC I will be in a position to keep everyone advised of what’s happening on that front. For further details please contact Warren Crowe at: – thailandclassics2017@gmail.
While on the subject of competitions P.I.S.T. (Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament) another “Phuket News” sponsored event, has just finalized their arrangements for this year’s “rivalry of the reels”. This three day event will be held on the 23rd of November with the “Early Bird” bookings coming in until the end of September.
Check it out on the internet or contact me for details of available boats etc. for either competition.
June Fishing News
That’s us passed the second month of the monsoon season (June) and once again conditions meant fishing was limited to a few days between some pretty serious squalls. I am often asked “What’s the best time of the year for fishing.” To which I regularly reply. “Get out when you can. Fishing is the most popular participant sport in the world because it’s a “no lose” activity, you either catch or you learn. Either way it’s better than being scuppered in dry dock.”
There are so many forms of fishing that there’s something for everyone, from a pole off the end of the pier to what I consider the pinnacle of our sport “Big Game Fishing” for billfish which here in Phuket means Sailfish or if you’re lucky Marlin. While I appreciate there are those who would disagree and would explain how “Fly Fishing” is on the verge of being an art form, while others, mostly HK and Singapore types, frantically “Jig” their way to exhaustion.
Fresh water (river and lake), salt water, beach casting and even ice fishing are all just a few examples of recreational fishing. Beyond this there are all the different methods for each, add to that your knots and your tackle and it’s a hobby that lasts a lifetime. They say fishermen catch fish and tackle shops catch fishermen. Yes it’s all part of the biggest game in the world.
Joke of the month
“Thailand’s sole deep-water tsunami-warning buoy is out of action and will not be replaced until November, but is no cause for alarm, the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) told The Phuket News today (June 20)”. On making further enquiries as regard the NDWC comment, I was told. “Their I.Q. results turned out negative, so everything must be fine”. 555
Also in the news
We have once again been visited by one of the best “line” fishermen on the planet, the infamous Portuguese Man-O-War. Contrary to popular belief the Man-O-War or Bluebottle as the Asian / Pacific variety is called, is not a jellyfish, but another strange creature called a Siphonophoce which has a bladder for a sail and stinging tentacles “fishing lines” of up to 30 meters long hanging from its keel. Last year as I was pulling in a hand line there was a very small amount of “snot” on the line which touched the heel of my hand and believe me you know when you have met one of these painful playmates. It was like getting lashed with the cat (Cat-O-Nine tails, pirate punishment) and I only experienced a tiny amount of tentacle on my line. I can’t imagine swimming into one, shiver me timbers. Even dead, washed up on the beach, be aware they are still dangerous with some countries even closing beaches when they arrive. 10,000 Aussies every year go through this painful ordeal, proving what a hardy lot they are. Another great reason for turtle conservation as turtles eat Men-O-War (or is it Man-O-Wars)?
Fishing club news
Early in the month the PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) had an emergency meeting which to all intents and purposes met to discuss the resignation of Warren Crowe who has run ‘’OUR” fishing competition since its conception. While the election of office bearers was deferred to the end of the month, it was decided the club would carry on running the competition. When asked why he resigned, Warren replied “I have run the competition with little or no help from the committee and all I got in return was derisory and possibly slanderous remarks, so I decided to run the competition independently of the club, and the club is welcome to join in or do what it likes. I already have 10 boats booked and confirmed for the 1/2/3rd March for the Thailand 2017 Classic and have the biggest sponsor to date, plus as usual, the Phuket News.” Does anyone else believe in the old adage? “A camel is a horse, designed by a committee?” Watch this space.
Tight lines to all
Thailand 2017 “Classic” Sport Fishing Tournament
Come & join us on 1st -3rd March 2017 for our 8th successive Year of 3 non-stop days of fishing in Asia’s Premium Sport Fishing Tournament.
Fish the beautiful waters off Phuket. Including Koh Rok Islands and their bounty of “billfish” or run out to the “drop off” chasing a big pelagic.
Then troll back to Racha Islands and watch the “dance” of the sail fish. Don’t forget to Tag & Release them>>>>
Celebrate your trophy winning fish with us at our Presentation Dinner at the fabulous Kan Eang Pier Restaurant
for a sumptuous seafood buffet with free flowing wine & beer.
Where you can tell your story of the “one” that did not get away!!!!!!!!!!!!
Huge cash & prizes to be won. Including magnificent trophies.
For further information, & boats available.
Please email Warren Crowe at email@example.com
Phuket Fishing March 2016
Ahoy me hearties and welcome to another month of Pirate Jimmy’s ramblings.
A couple of months ago I wrote about the El Nino affect which unfortunately for the PGFC’s (Phuket Game Fishing Club) annual competition was still causing unseasonal weather which seemed to have lured all the billfish down here to Chalong rather than their usual Similan’s habitat, for as we continued on our “Billfish Bonanza” which has now lasted since November, while this very popular annual event, although seeing the beasties caught none. The trials and tribulations of fishing, or: – “It’s better to sit in a boat and think of God, than it is to sit in church and think of fishing.”
As the competitors will have found, wind does not necessarily mean swell but it does create chop, white caps or white horses as they are known as back in my “pirate” homeland, Aarrr, Scotland, where the infamous Blackbeard came from. Ow Aarrr. White caps make trolling much more luck dependant as you need to steam right over the fish for them to see your lures amid the surface commotions caused by the “chop”. Trolling multiple lines also needs a lot of expertise, as the slightest mistake or lack of attention and lead to an abundance of “knitting” (fishing expression for tangled lines) and the inexperienced can spend most of their time untangling line and if they are really raw and using “braid” would spend their time cutting and destroying lots of this much more expensive line, which in my view was not designed for multiple trolls especially, in weather, when no one volunteers for Crow’s Nest duty.
This year’s competition was also adversely affected by the fall in the price of oil, as many of the PGFC’s members are in the industry and had been “laid-off”, which in turn led to a few cancellations. So it’s fingers crossed for next year, best of luck guys.
I am often asked about the dangers of fishing and forgetting normal boating hazards it’s knowing your fish and knowing how to land them. For example, the Queen Fish, a very innocent looking fish, but this nasty has a set of extremely sharp barbs along its dorsal which sting like the cat-o-nine tails. And there’s also a method for pulling in a bill fish which will help you avoid getting skewered like a kebab which involves handling the bill from above as opposed to, the more natural way, from underneath. As from above your elbow will break away from your body if the fish decided to kick. Best advice, leave it to the pros.
Basically it’s mostly common sense and really, there is nothing out there as dangerous as a Chinese guy riding a rented motorbike, on the wrong side of the road, taking a “selfie” at Nai Harn view-point.
And this month’s Hot News. Trish is now speaking to me again. I ask you.” What was wrong with “his & hers” spinning rods and reels for Valentine’s Day ?”
November Fishing 2015
Well me hearties,
November ended the way it started with the weather still not settling for “high” season.
It also started with Queen Akira, the new boat on the “Gottcha” fleet, bagging 4 Sails on her inaugural trip to Koh Ha, while yours truly released 3 Sails landed 2 King Macs and a Dorado and with a gang of locals on Mena 1 released a young Blue Marlin, the first anyone has heard of being caught north of the Racha Islands, everyone was reporting great fishing.
And so the stage was set for the annual P.I.S.T. (Phuket International Sports-fishing Tournament) competition.
On November the 19th day one of the Competition Sea Eagle with Capt. Inman loosed a broadside that devastated all the opposition, pulling Sails in port and starboard and even three at once, how’s that for line handling. Showing no quarter “hurricane Andrew” continued the onslaught over the next two days, in weather conditions that must have had the other competitors believing they were hallucinating. “One or two were quite PIST.” Sea Eagle sailing to the finish line, “top heavy” with all the flags she was flying. If it wasn’t for their nationality it would have been like returning from Trafalgar. A valiant effort.
So that’s us now polishing our rods until the next great competition, my personal favourite.
As it is a 3 day, potentially, “non-stop” tournament. For lazy old salts like myself, the PGFC’s “Similan Islands” competition is the most challenging “potentially bigger fish” while at the same time relaxing, for as you are permanently at sea and there is none of this, going to bed, getting up, going to the pier and provisioning the boat, every day.
Anyone interested should contact the Phuket Game Fishing Club as I believe there are a few individual places and space for a couple of boats. (Numbers are limited) www.phuketgamefishingclub.com
So once again me fisheroos I’ll sail off into the sunset, magnificent at this time of year, changing views, through the clouds on the horizon. Impressive.
I leave you with a photo of Sea Eagle as her crew launched their successful attempt at landing 3 Sailfish at one time. Well done “Hurricane” Andrew Inman.
July Fishing News
Well me Hearties,
July went out with a lot of wind and hiss, didn’t it just. I was out with a couple of South African friends on a four day three night trip round the Koh Ha, Koh Rok, Hin Dang circuit in pretty “lumpy” conditions so much so that we had to run for cover at Phi Phi Island, when the seas rose to 3 meters 7 seconds, talk about adventure fishing! Sorry to say we had nothing sizeable to report although at Koh Ha we ran into a shoal of, good sized, Rainbow Runners and were pulling them in 3 or 4 at a time on multiple lines, something I have only experienced with large schools of Tuna. Considering the weather I was impressed with how stable Thai2On was under these atrocious conditions and how well the crew handled her. Well done guys. On the trip I was asked the old question, “What is worn under a Scotsman’s kilt” so I replied with the old adage, “Nothing, as everything’s in perfect working order.” OK so I’ve run out of pirate jokes.
The beginning of August saw a slight improvement in the weather and on a couple of day trips out Tuna were in abundance and Queen Marlin reported catching a Sail Fish as did another local Thai boat but I won’t mention them as they sadly landed it, unfortunately we never even got a smell of them, but that’s fishing for you.
The two main fishing clubs the RBFC (Rawai Beach Fishing Club) and the PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) had a joint meeting at the end of July, to sort out some of their differences and there is now talk of more collaboration. The new president of the RBFC Dave “Flob” Roberts chaired the meeting and among the topics raised was doing a feasibility study on placing F.A.D.s (fish aggregating devices) around Phuket’s fishing grounds. The 2015 RBFC “Classic” Fishing Competition which has changed its previous dates to the 18th – 20th March to avoid Chinese New Year and accommodate our friends from Singapore etc. Fishing for kids (not literary) to promote the sport and a BBQ day for parents and kids where they could catch their own meals, while Mike Bailey from Exotic Fishing Thailand, which I wrote about last month, proposed a two day, fresh water, charity event at his extraordinary venue when all proceeds would be donated to the Make a Wish Foundation who make dreams come true for terminally ill children. Nice one Mike you have my backing and that of the Phuket News.
As usual, tight lines to all and let’s get out there as the weather permits.
Burma Banks vs. Andaman Islands
Hi once again my fisherooing friends,
Between storms, as usual, fishing improved dramatically for those with the sea-legs to go out in 7-8 second swells which mid- month kept the boats in port when they exceeded 2.5 meters. So what do fishermen do when the sea is too rough to get out, polish their rods? Well in my case I spent time looking at the projections for next high season and as the local fishing stocks are becoming more and more depleted started thinking about the prospects of going further afield.
The Burma Banks as an alternative to the Andaman Islands.
With the easing of Myanmar restrictions some of our boats are now looking into the logistics of fishing “a billfish bonanza” The Burma Banks, so if anyone, out there, knows where to get all the “official” Myanmar paperwork etc. for this proposed venture, any information would be most appreciated.
Situated about half the way to the Andaman Islands this amazing series of underwater mountains covering some 1,500 square kilometers, 180KM north west of the Similan Islands is probably the only place in the Andaman Sea where the commercial trawlers have not raped and pillaged what was once our abundant sea life, as the mountain rise from around 350M to just 15M below the surface effectively prohibiting net “trawling”, not to be confused with our sports “trolling”.
While we are all aware Big Game fishing, at this level, is expensive The Burma Banks should considerably reduce costs of the only other world class, adventure fishing, venue within the range of our boats as they will use less fuel and our clients will not have the expense of flying to India and from there to Port Blair to meet our boats at the Andaman Islands. With this new proposed scheme it is envisaged that next “high” season guests will be taxied to Ranong, on the Thai /Myanmar border to “checked out” and then taken across to Kawthaung to clear Myanmar customs, and from there strait out 100/200KM to the “banks”. As there is no “cover” for safety reasons the boats will only be traveling this distance,” to the middle of nowhere”, between mid- February till mid-April when the weather is more or less guaranteed. Again, any information on the above would be most appreciated.
This month’s joke. Now that Burma has changed its name to Myanmar, does that mean the Burmese are now to be referred to as Myanmartians?
The PGFC (Phuket Game Fishing Club) has had to temporarily restrict the opening hours of their club house, The Gaff, due to illness as that exultant Irishman Laurence Walker is now back in the UK under medical supervision. Having talked to him a few days ago he is as optimistic as ever and hopes to be back in Phuket in a couple of months. All the best M8 all your pals are rooting for you.
The R.B.F.C. (Rawai Beach Fishing Club) announced at their AGM that their annual “Classic” (Similan Islands) Fishing Competition will change its normal dates to the 18/19/20th March 2015. The committee, with full approval, decided they wished to avoid Chinese New Year to accommodate all their friends from Singapore and Hong Kong. It was also muted that they expected much better fishing at that time of year. Well for our puddle plonking “executives” anything has to be better than their previous performance Tee Hee. Better luck next year guys, need some tips? Following the AGM at Jimmy’s Drift Inn we all departed for our “official” club house The Paradise Bar, Rawai as it was Annie’s birthday and a great time was had by all, with no seats available by 7.30 just demonstrating the popularity of this charismatic young (by my standards) lady. Happy birthday Annie.
From Greenpeace to “G” spots
Hi again my fellow Fisheroos,
The end of June was definitely not for the fair-weather fishermen among us, with 3 meter seas, rain and high winds making our sporting adventures uncomfortable if not downright dangerous.
The high winds and waves also took their toll on the “new” Chalong Marina where bad design and poor workmanship has left the walkways in an extremely treacherous condition, with large holes and loose flooring being the latest hazard to be negotiated when going to sea from this jinxed project.
Following closely on the “buoys” fiasco which led to the sinking of the Russian “Booze Cruise” boat, it seems to me the powers that be seem only too happy to spend money without supervising the efforts of their landlubbing contractors, who should not be trusted to build Lego blocks. The sea, any sea, deserves “respect”; a word many Thai people, especially after the Tsunami, don’t seem to realize is earned and not demanded. This is possibly the crux of the problem, where deference to a clueless superior often overrides good old common sense.
It may be just me, but at this time of year everything seems to drift into a negative vein, which has now been “topped off” with the latest Greenpeace report on Thai fishing stocks, and I quote directly :-
“Thailand’s seas are rapidly approaching a danger zone” – Hundreds of commercial vessels were operating daily in the Gulf and destroying all marine life in their wake. “If this continues, Thai oceans will become barren and lifeless,” – “In the next five or ten years if we do not try to fix the situation and protect resources, fish stocks or fish populations will reach below numbers that will no longer be productive,”
Sad to say I can only concur, for as any sports fisherman who has been in these waters for a number of years will tell you. “Every year the fish are getting fewer and smaller” Some of us can remember when a Sailfish or even a Marlin was a weekly if not daily occurrence. Now I wonder why we bother working a catch and release policy for billfish, as we just seem to be leaving more for the commercial boats who don’t give a toss for our conservation efforts. OK you can say we Europeans did the same to the North Sea, but “two wrongs don’t make a right”. So everyone PLEASE, PLEASE support the Greenpeace initiative, try to back their sustainable fishing policy in the waters many of us have grown to know and love. IT’S IN EVERYBODY’S INTEREST, as the war between conservationists and commercial boats cannot be won. The capitalists may get a short term financial gain but in the long term, as in most wars, everyone loses. You would hope that Thai culture would see the necessity for a bit of Yin and Yang
To end on a lighter note, I have often stated that fishing always improves after a good “stir-up” and on one of the few days we could get out our boat landed 2 x 4k Rainbow Runners the largest I have seen locally. The next day 14 year old Anthony from New Zealand on MV Hooker out with the PGFC caught “and released” his first sailfish, from all accounts he handled himself like a real pro. Well done Anthony.
Photograph courtesy of “PGFC” Phuket Game Fishing Club
This month’s fishy humor – For those ladies who don’t know how to keep a fisherman satisfied. The “G” spot is located at the end of the word fishing.